Centre for Internet & Society

"WannaCry is far and away the most severe malware attack so far in 2017, and the spread of this troubling ransomware is far from over". Since the global attack was launched on Friday, several thousand more computers were discovered to be infected, particularly in Asia as the work day began on Monday. "We've seen that the slowdown of the infection rate over Friday night, after a temporary fix around it, has now been overcome by a second variation the criminals have released".

The article by Ellis Neal was published in the Villages Suntimes on May 21, 2017.

Microsoft called the incident a "wake-up" call for governments and customers to take security seriously, but in a letter to the Times Sir David Omand, GCHQ director from 1996 to 1997, pins the blame squarely on the technology firm for failing to maintain support for its ageing Windows XP platform. If they wanted their files decrypted, the program said all they had to do was pay $300 worth of Bitcoin to the specified address.

However, a cyber security expert working with the Centre for Internet and Society, Udbhav Tiwari working on vulnerabilities such as these, said as most ATMs in the country especially of the public-sector banks run on outdated operating systems, or are not updated regularly, they can be easily compromised.

When Microsoft sells its operating system software it does so through a licence agreement that states the company is not liable for any security breaches, thus shielding it from any legal complaints, points out Michael Scott, a professor at Southwestern Law School.

Microsoft has blamed the U.S. government for creating the software code that was used by hackers to launch the cyber-attacks. USA and European officials did not rule out North Korea as a possible suspect in the cyberattack.

In a blog post, Microsoft admonished governments around the world for keeping software vulnerabilities to themselves, instead of reporting them to the developers. EternalBlue and DoublePulsar, two tools the NSA used to infiltrate computer networks, were stolen from the agency and leaked online in April as part of a massive data dump by the Shadow Brokers hacker group. An investigation is on-going regarding how the codes got out.

The cyber experts have warned of a huge risk in near future as most institutions and individuals in Bangladesh use pirated software. We can not expect criminal hackers to be held accountable for their actions, but we should hold our government agencies accountable.

Since China and Russian Federation are two of the countries where a major share of computers are running pirated Windows, these are also the countries with the biggest rate of WannaCry infections, as stated by F-Secure.

Malware cases have been spreading in recent years as the malicious software trend has been gaining ground, with new forms of ransomware hitting the scene.